“Now cracks a noble heart.
Good-night, sweet prince;
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”
Tuesday I had my senior horse, Tristan, humanely euthanized. With cooperation from the landowner and my vet, I was able to walk to the back of the property where he could quietly and with little drama, be allowed to cross the Rainbow Bridge.
As we walked there, near the end of our journey, two hawks came down and circled us. Probably a mated pair, giving their support and reminding me to lean on Grenwinae. I was fortunate that Grenwinae took off from work because it was so, so very hard.
Grenwinae told me afterwards that when he was giving him Reiki, he replied he was tired of having to do his job (looking after the pony girls) and was ready for his well deserved rest.
He came to me half starved, probably about 600 pounds underweight the victim of a selfish teenager (shown below) with the dent on his nose where a halter had compressed his skin. This photo was from a few days after I fed him up. For those with experienced eyes, you can see the weight loss in the neck and legs; winter coat and the angle I took this photo conceals the backbone and ribs that were evident:
He was a horse I needed that I didn’t know I needed. He stood by me, teaching me things, and telling me that I could do this. He was the only horse I have ever seen canter with using three legs, and the weight bearing hind leg was off the ground! He could levitate when he wanted but generally he just liked to poke around, heavy on the forehand and convince beginner riders he wasn’t capable of much more.
Even when times were tough he was giving me his all with a huge shoulder to lean and cry on. He showed me how to tough it up and take it on the chin, even if that meant leaning on the ropes, waiting for the bell to ring.
Like most Thoroughbreds, his heart was bigger then his brain. He was stoic through a lot of pain. When he fractured his pelvis, I had doubts he would ever walk again and he proved me wrong. He would and could endure. The day he took his first step outside of the stall into his expanded recovery paddock, I literally wept tears of joy.
However, these last five years the melanomas (which is common in gray horses) were causing him a lot of pain and had doubled in size. These were located under his tail and on his penis, as well as (an educated guess) they were inside and also growing.
Twice these had burst and required antibiotics and constant cleanings to drain the foul smelling oily tar, puss and blood they produced. I was glad to care for him, but the reality is there is no cure for Melanomas in horses and it was just something to endure, like his other injuries and failing immune system.
This last year I could not keep weight on him and this last three months, ribs were showing and weight continued to be dropped. The dew poisoning around his hooves, which he had never been able to get rid of, had increased in size and in sensitivity.
Two weeks ago I was finding blood in his stools.
Although he looked alert and was still eating, I didn’t know if I would come out to find him dead or dying. I didn’t have competent help at the barn to call me; my vet is 45 minutes away. We were out of town more and more. It became a daily worry what state I would find when I arrived at the barn.
He ended up hurting himself on the fence so this last week I had kept him up at the barn and separated, though he could still see his pony girls. In hindsight, this gave me time and peace of mind to reconnect and say a long goodbye. To spoil him with extra care, treats and grooming.
But it also cemented the inner knowledge I would need to make the Adult Decision we all have to make as pet owners.
This picture (below) was taken a few days before the passing of my mare due to illness about 8 years ago. He was her constant companion as you can see.
He can run with her now.
Swift speed to you my dear boy and may you find pastures full of plenty mares all needing their Hero. They are calling for you. Go my sweet, silly boy.